Worthing’s mayor was given a parking ticket as he laid the first brick of the Montague Place improvement works on Tuesday.
Councillor Michael Donin parked his official car on double yellow lines in Liverpool Terrace, before marking the landmark moment in the progress of the £1.2million revamp of the high street.
The first paver was part of the central ‘way finding’ feature – but presumably it will not point the mayor to a suitable parking space.
Mr Donin said he could not see any parking spaces nearby and was wary of walking long distances wearing the valuable mayor’s chain.
He said cutbacks meant he no longer had a chauffeur by his side, or to move the car in such circumstances.
“I honestly thought that the labels I have in the window allowed me to park there temporarily,” he said.
Mr Donin had been invited to the event by town centre manager Sharon Clarke, who said it was ‘exciting’ to see the project taking shape.
But while the first brick has been laid, the completion date has been delayed by two months, due to the need to relocate a UK Power Networks cable.
This means the work is now scheduled to be completed in August.
Mrs Clarke said: “A lot of people have been seeing the preparation work, which is important, but it gets frustrating while all you are seeing is rubble.
“It is exciting and people will soon be able to see what it is going to look like.”
Mrs Clarke said that despite the setback in completion date, footfall was up by eight per cent, suggesting shoppers were not being deterred from travelling into town.
It is not the first time the mayor has been involved in a parking saga.
Heather Mercer hit the Herald front page in 2007 after her chauffeur parked her civic Skoda on the pavement at the opening of the town’s new parking
But a fine was not issued as the mayor was entitled to a special ‘business permit’, allowing the car to be parking on double yellow lines.
A Worthing Borough Council spokesman said: “The council has received evidence that the mayor’s vehicle was parked in the prohibited ‘loading ban’ section of Liverpool
“Therefore, the driver is liable to pay the subsequent penalty charge notice.”